Happy back-to-school season, Temple Heights Fam!

When September hits and most of us are getting back into the groove of our routines, we tend to think about all of the things we need to add to our “to-do” list.

Including making appointments. All the appointments!

While going down your list of what needs to be scheduled, don’t forget to add on your pet’s wellness exam and vaccines! Making sure vaccines are up-to-date is a big part of your pet’s routine care visit. At Temple Heights, we often hear a few myths floating around about dog and cat vaccines, and as we head into a busy appointment season, we wanted to bust some of those so you know exactly why we recommend what we do.

So let’s get to it– the top FOUR vaccine myths we enjoy busting at Temple Heights Animal Hospital:

MYTH: All dogs need the same vaccines. All cats need the same vaccines.

TRUTH: There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to which vaccines are necessary for the health of dogs and cats. It all has to do with what your pet is exposed to, and therefore, their lifestyle.

Here is an example: Our very own Dr. Hofmann owns both indoor-only cats and barn cats. These pets live completely different lifestyles, so have different vaccine schedules to address their needs.

The same goes for dogs! Some dogs are the outdoorsy type– they hunt, or hike, or swim, etc. Some are teeny tiny dogs who get toted around in purses and barely ever touch the ground. The vaccine schedules for these dogs will vary, just as their lifestyles do.

Your best bet is to discuss your pet’s lifestyle with your veterinarian (ahem . . . if you’re in SoCal, we hope that is us) and come up with an appropriate game plan.

MYTH: Small dogs only need a half dose of a vaccine.

TRUTH: Many clients who own tiny dogs ask if it’s possible to administer a lower dosage of a vaccine due to their pet’s size.
Ready for us to blow your mind?

All dogs, big and small, have the same size immune system!

So yes, your four-pound Chihuahua and your neighbor’s Great Dane have at least one thing in common.

The same thing is true in humans, from infancy through adulthood! Due to the science behind vaccines, it just does not make any sense to dish out smaller dosages to smaller pets.

One thing that IS true is that smaller dogs tend to have more reactions if administering multiple vaccines at the same time. For this reason, your veterinarian may want to stagger the number of vaccines given at once, but the actual dosage of the vaccine will not change.

MYTH: My dog does not need a Bordetella vaccine if they never board.

TRUTH: It’s possible that this myth emerged because Bordetella is often referred to as “kennel cough,” but the truth is that upper respiratory disease is found EVERYWHERE, not just in kennel environments.

Bordetella is caused by a few different agents, so even if your pet is exposed to a place where another dog has once been, they can be infected. They don’t necessarily have to go to a boarding facility or to the groomer to be exposed. If your pet is ever in a place where other dogs have been, they should still get the vaccine.

MYTH: My pet will never actually be exposed to rabies, so the vaccine isn’t necessary.

Want to know why the chance of your pet being exposed to rabies is low?

Because vaccines WORK!

But the chance is not non-existent (yet). We have come a long way over time, and while domestic pets are no longer considered reservoirs to host rabies, other wildlife animals are, so it’s important to keep our pets protected. You just never know… a bat could get into your house, or a brave skunk could have a run-in with your dog in the backyard. The possibilities of exposure are still there.

Besides that, rabies vaccines are a requirement by law in most places in the United States. Protocols will vary according to your county or state, but there are quarantine protocols in place if there is a biting incident involving a pet who is not vaccinated against rabies. You will save yourself a big headache by making sure your pet is up to date (just in case they get ticked off and bite the groomer, but most groomers will require the vaccine anyway).

So there you have it! We are busting myths left and right over here at Temple Heights. We hope you feel more prepared as you head into your pet’s routine wellness exam (which you can schedule here), but feel free to bring us any other questions you might have!